Crime

AT&T campaign: When driving, texting and other smartphone activities can wait

Research by AT&T shows smartphone distractions behind the wheel have grown beyond texting to social media, web surfing, selfies, and video chatting.
Research by AT&T shows smartphone distractions behind the wheel have grown beyond texting to social media, web surfing, selfies, and video chatting. Miami Herald File

Spring break is here and many will be out and about at beaches, parks or just hanging out with friends. Here are smartphone safety measures from Crime Watch partner Kelly Starling of AT&T for a safe spring break:

Distracted driving is NEVER OK. That’s the simple message behind AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign against distracted driving. Research by AT&T shows smartphone distractions behind the wheel have grown beyond texting to social media, web surfing, selfies, and video chatting. With this being Distracted Driving Awareness Month, AT&T is urging you to take the It Can Wait pledge.

Here is what AT&T has learned through its research:

Power of a pledge

▪ Pledging matters and makes a difference.

▪ Almost half of people who took the It Can Wait pledge said they now don’t use their smartphones while driving.

▪ Those who share their promise or pledge with others are even more likely to stop, and more likely to speak up to others.

You’re never alone on the road

▪ Only 36 percent of drivers look at their smartphone with passengers in the car, compared to more than 6-in-10 (64 percent) without a passenger.

▪ People look at their phone even less when the passenger is a child.

▪ AT&T created a powerful PSA in 2016 to drive home the “You’re never alone on the road” message. View it at www.itcanwait.com/videos.

Habit stats

▪ For 1-in-3 drivers, distracted driving is a habit.

▪ Habitually distracted drivers have a false sense of security in their actions. Only 58 percent feel that using their smartphone behind the wheel is “very dangerous,” compared to 78 percent of non-habitual distracted drivers. Ironically, they’re also twice as likely to have been involved in a near crash or a collision.

Smartphone distracted driving stats

▪ 7-in-10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving.

▪ 62 percent keep their smartphones within easy reach while driving.

▪ Nearly 4-in-10 smartphone users tap into social media while driving.

▪ 22 percent who access social networks while driving cite addiction as a reason.

▪ Almost 3-in-10 surf the net.

▪ 1-in-10 video chat.

AT&T DriveMode

▪ AT&T DriveMode is free to customers of all wireless carriers for iPhone and Android users.

▪ It helps curb the urge to text and drive by silencing incoming text messages.

▪ Its auto mode feature automatically turns on the app when you reach 15 MPH and turns it off after you stop.

▪ AT&T DriveMode can help keep young drivers safe by sending a message to a parent if the app is turned off.

▪ The campaign has resulted in more than five million downloads of the app.

AT&T has also added a virtual reality experience component to the It Can Wait campaign to show the potentially deadly consequences of glancing at your smartphone while driving. You can download the free AT&T VR app and buy Google Cardboard at www.ItCanWait.com/VR to use with your smartphone, to experience the It Can Wait driving simulation.

More than 14 million people have taken the It Can Wait pledge since AT&T launched the campaign in 2010. Please join the movement. It could save a life.

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to carmen@citizenscrimewatch.org, or call her at 305-470-1670.

  Comments